FNB Varsity Shield
A clash of styles is expected when the FNB UFH Blues host defending champions FNB CPUT in Alice on Thursday night.
Fort Hare have won seven matches on the bounce and earned the right to host the FNB Varsity Shield final. It remains to be seen, however, whether they can go one step further and claim their first title.
FNB CPUT, of course, have been in this position before.
Alistair Theys' charges won the title in 2019 and 2021. Many of the players in the current setup know what it takes to clinch a decider.
The Blues beat FNB CPUT during the league phase thanks to a last-gasp intercept try by centre Migcobo Bovu.
Lumumba Currie's charges will be aiming for a more complete performance on this occasion and will be looking to their scrum and kicking game to create pressure and scoring chances.
FNB CPUT have the means to strike from anywhere on the park. Flyhalf Feghon-Leigh Snyders will be a threat, whether he is searching for a linebreak at close quarters or linking up with his wingers via a well-aimed cross-kick.
Both sides boast excellent defensive systems and have been particularly aggressive around the collisions and breakdowns.
Discipline will be crucial in a clash of this nature, though. Both sets of players will be wary of conceding penalties and yellow cards for cynical play.
Synders and opposite number Keith Chiwara will be under pressure to make all goal-kicking opportunities count.
Chiwara will be looking to bounce back after his wayward performance from the tee in the semi-final against the FNB WSU All Blacks. Snyders, who missed a late penalty attempt in the loss to Fort Hare earlier this season, will also have a point to prove.
FNB UFH BLUES vs FNB CPUT (Thursday, 19:00, Davidson Rugby Field, SuperSport channel 207) FNB UFH Blues – 15 Apiwe Sidloyi, 14 Mziyabulela Bathu, 13 Ryan Maree, 12 Migcobo Bovu, 11 Lilitha Mdladlana, 10 Keith Chiwara, 9 Lwazi Madiba, 8 Yamkela Mzozoyana, 7 Rodney Chikamhi, 6 Langalethu Susela, 5 Walter Moyo, 4 Ayabulel Xhosana, 3 Mnkani Sibabalo, 2 Kamvelihle Fatyela (c), 1 Edwin Nxumalo. Subs: 16 Bulela Magopeni, 17 Mesuli Nzima, 18 Mbasa Sonkosi, 19 Cinga Nqotyana, 20 Zimi Ngetu, 21 Merlin du Plessis, 22 Liyema Tyali, 23 Yamkela Mahintsho.
FNB CPUT – 15 Caine Stadler, 14 Christopher Andrews, 13 Iwaan Bloys, 12 Philasande Ngcobo, 11 Keenan Williams, 10 Feghon-Leigh Snyders, 9 Hugan Engelbrecht, 8 Roland van der Heever, 7 Ché Klaasen, 6 Keanan Solomons, 5 Moegamat Toffar, 4 Joshua Paris, 3 Matthew Coenraad, 2 Siyasanga Ngubelanga (c), 1 Jacques-Lynn Josephus. Subs: 16 Duke Shasha, 17 Masivuye Mafenyana, 18 Onika Mgijima, 19 Lungelo Kubheka, 20 Leano Haupt, 21 Duran Alexander, 22 Keano Cookson, 23 Darren Alexander.